updated 03:45 pm EST, Fri February 27, 2009
Nokia 5800 US Glitches
Nokia's US launch of the 5800 XpressMusic may have been marred by one if not two significant manufacturing glitches. Multiple reports coming in to BGR report that versions of the company's first touchscreen phone sold at its Chicago and New York flagship stores are being returned in large numbers after some models refuse to get any sort of signal. The issue isn't consistent and only appears to affect the new North America Model (NAM) versions with 3G support for AT&T and Rogers.
Officials haven't commented on this latest issue.
Additionally, Nokia spokespeople have confirmed a separate problem with the built-in speaker in the 5800 XpressMusic that causes it to quickly wear down and fail within a matter of weeks. The bad speakers had reportedly come from a defective batch at a supplier and affected nearly all devices made up until late January, when Nokia switched to different speakers. Company officials describe the issue as affecting a "limited number" of phones but don't say whether any of the NAM editions are affected.
The problems further compound Nokia's troubles in trying to improve its stature in the US and for touchscreen devices in particular. Despite public intentions to improve its performance in the US, the company is still limited to selling its highest-end devices outside of official carrier deals as unlocked, unsubsidized models only through its two American retail stores and through its relatively small online and third-party networks.
Beyond reducing the amount of available phones to compensate for the most recent issues, the limited supply also creates little deviation in price beyond the official $399 cost of the 5800; by contrast, competitors like the BlackBerry Storm and iPhone 3G cost half as much and are more widely available.